Top 7 Credit Score Secrets

As a former credit counselor, I know that most individuals have a misguided perception of credit and I am here to debunk some common credit myths and provide you with some free information about how to improve your score. Since it is an absolute fact that a higher credit score means better interest rates for car loans, mortgages, and other debts, these tips can translate into a few extra dollars in your wallet each month.

1) Approximately 35% of your credit score is based on past debts that are over 30 days late. This means if for some reason you are going to be late on a payment, do not let it slip past 30 days late.

2) Canceling credit cards can actually hurt your credit score, particularly if they are an old and established part of your credit history. Even if you no longer use a card that is ten or twenty years old, in most cases it is better to simply shred it since 15% of your score is based on the length of your history. In addition, keeping accounts open gives you a better debt to credit ratio, which makes up 30% of your credit score.

3) While not taking on any debt and paying for everything with cash seems like a logical choice for individuals who can afford this lifestyle, no credit means bad credit in the eyes of lenders. There is bound to be a time when you cannot buy something with cash, such as purchasing your first house, so make the effort to open at least one account and make purchases with the credit card occasionally.

4) Applying for too many credit cards at once is extremely detrimental to your credit score since every time someone checks your current credit status, it leaves a ding that lasts a year. When you suddenly start applying for a large amount of credit, it sends up a red flag that you are enduring some financial trouble you are prepared for or that you are accumulating too much debt.

5) Although teenagers are not always the most responsible with money, getting your child a credit card early in life can make a significant difference in the long run as it is paid off in time. There are a few excellent options for low-limit cards and prepaid cards, which will both help you child start building a positive foundation for their future credit.

6) And finally, avoid freecreditreport.com like the plague! It isn’t free and is a complete scam. If you want your credit report for free you can check all three major reporting companies every 12 months without any negative effects at the government sponsored site: annualcreditreport.com

7) Never lie or falsify information about your credit score! Your credit score is easily checked by anyone and you may even face legal action for lying about it on loan applications.

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173 Comments »

  1. All pretty good tips if your not informed about these. Another one that people should stay away from if possible is credit pooling as it also has a negative impact from what I am told.

    Good luck with the new blog!

  2. Thater said

    I have a question. There was a guy I worked with who assured me that it helped build credit to let your credit card payments go over and collect interest. I was always told that it looked better for you to have it paid off in full every month (when possible). So which is better in the eyes of creditors? Do they like to see that they can make money off of you missing payments, or would they rather see that you can responsibly pay off your debts in a timely manner?

  3. Reagan said

    Thanks for the tips!

    You might want to cite your sources for the claims you make in future blogs, but this is a great start.

  4. orlando said

    can having accounts with 3 or more banks negatively effect a credit score?

  5. Tom said

    Limited credit =! bad credit. If you put 20% or more down on a house, have a stable job, and have never declared bankrupcy there are few lenders that will turn someone down for a mortgage that does not use debt as a tool.

    Debt companies are eager to feed a list of reasons to Joe Public as to why it’s ‘necessary’ to throw money at them. You’ll hear about tax breaks and never being able to get a mortgage, yet there are many of people who don’t fall prey to their predatory actions who are able to see past the misinformation.

  6. Bob said

    Sounds to me like someone has a ‘beef’ with freecreditreport.com more than being an ‘expert’.

  7. Aaron said

    Bob: Any knowledgeable financial advisor you speak with will tell you the same thing. annualcreditreport.com was created as a central location for pulling all three of your credit reports at no chargefollowing the initiation of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. freecreditreport.com is not the site commissioned to provide these reports. I’ll let you decide.

  8. Bob's an idiot said

    Hey Bob, got a question for you…

    Have you ever requested a credit report from freecreditreport.com ?
    I have three friends that have been “f-ed in the a” by those scum sucking scam artists.

    I’ve got an idea why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and go request a “free credit report” from them & let us know how it goes?

    Until then, I’d suggest that you shut your ignorant hole Bob.

  9. [...] Other notes… if you have any credit cards give this a read. http://creditpro.wordpress.com/2007/02/05/top-7-credit-score-secrets/ [...]

  10. Alex said

    I think that what is more important than kowtowing to the finance industry’s meter stick is that the best advice to follow when it comes to your own PERSONAL finances is that debt is to be paid off as soon as possible so as to incur the least finance charges. Always know the fine print in your charge card aggreements and avoid personal loans. If you want it save up for it. You don’t want the hassle of having to pay for something that can impair your ability to pay for the necessities
    like your rent, utilities and groceries. Stay debt-free and SAVE YOUR MONEY! Don’t be misled by the force of the finance MATRIX-saw it, need it, charge it!.

  11. azneita said

    great tips!
    i work for a debt collection agency and most of the guys we collect from hurts their score either by closing their account or by skipping payments (many months).
    i say they should pay their monthly dues religiously if they want their scores to sail fair.
    also, just buy what you can conservatively afford or get a steady job.

  12. Pretty well known things, I think, but good to hear again, none the less.

  13. chillpep said

    To the above comment by “Bob’s an idiot” : Is your name Bob?

    [quote]
    6) And finally, >>> avoid

  14. “Bob” made a perfectly accurate and unbiased statement, grow up and get off his back!

  15. PS “Bob’s an idiot” is an idiot…

  16. [...] one that may come in handy:  Top 7 Credit Score Secrets.  Who knew canceling an old credit card was bad for [...]

  17. The Critic said

    I have a question? I own property and am retired with a small income. My credit was ruined because of doctor bills that I could not pay.

    My loan chances are pretty shot… My question though is If I can put half the money down on some new property I want would that work?

    Example I am looking at property for 160k I have 80k cash I can put down. If I sold the property I live at now I would have no other bills. Would I be able to get a lone with putting that much down for equity pretty easily or would it still be hard?

    Thanks

  18. Gina said

    One thing you should know also is that you can’t check your credit report on annualcreditreport.com from overseas. That’s a huge disadvantage for those of us who have chosen to work overseas for a bit.

  19. [...] read more | digg story [...]

  20. I found this article very interesting, thanks

  21. “There are a few excellent options for low-limit cards and prepaid cards, which will both help you child start building a positive foundation for their future credit.”

    Um, prepaid cards don’t help you build a credit history, because you don’t pay them off every month. They do help you learn how to budget your money, but they don’t really help with learning how to use (or abuse) credit, because t hey don’t give you the (dangerous) ability to spend more money than you have.

  22. Trat For said

    Usefull info and intelligence in a practical sense

  23. jojofmkokomo said

    My brother in law was considered a bad credit risk because he had never bought anything on credit. After getting and using one credit card he was able to get a loan.

  24. laronda said

    i gots the trouble with my crediks – is there some place I can go for help? can someone fix it?

    • The Expert said

      get a job, stop the “swipe and dont worry”, and be responsible with payments and it will will work its self out in about 7 years

  25. Linus said

    The Critic,
    You should pay off the medical bills you’ve reneged on before considering the purchase of a house. Even if you have debtor’s protection, it’s immoral for you to be so selfish.

  26. michael said

    1. Freecreditreport.com is a scam. Everyone knows it. The FTC even warns people not to go there.

    2. Gina, you can use annualcreditreport.com from overseas, you just need to find a proxy server.

  27. J said

    FreeCreditReport.com is not a scam, it’s just generally a bad deal. Those are 2 different things.

    FreeCreditReport.com provides you for free with no more and no less than what you are already entitled to by the government: a once-per-12-month check of your credit REPORT. Important note: REPORT DOES NOT = SCORE. You are not entitled by law (unless it’s changed recently and I’m unaware) to your CREDIT SCORE, only to your CREDIT REPORT.

    FreeCreditReport.com charges you, because they provide you with Hyperion’s SCORE and report at will. For a paid account, they will also send you an e-mail alert when the score changes and inquiries are being made. So if you want to check your score more than every 12 months — say you’re looking to buy a house in the next couple of months or you’re just coming off some fraud and want to watch your score and details to see that it’s getting fixed — then you might be willing to pay them.

    Just as a side note, some Credit Cards, such as Household Bank, which was bought by Wamu, show you your monthly score for free.

  28. Tito Smootz said

    In a CNBC interview with Warren Buffett, he suggests you stay away from credit cards all together. I have yet to ever hear somebody say they built their fortune from their Discover Reward Points.

    In addition, having all the balances paid off on your credit cards when you apply for a new home mortgage. The lending company will look at your credit report and weigh the chances of you furnishing a new house at 18% if they give you the loan.

  29. Kevin said

    Freecreditreport.com is a scam. I signed up for it over a year ago because I was curious about my score. I checked my score every single month and it said my credit score was over 730, but when I went to go get a car loan all 3 of my scores were below 680. They don’t give you a true credit score, they give you their own version (I think it was called Experian Plus Credit Score).

    I use mycreditkeeper.com. It’s like 10 bucks a month, they send me an alert when something changes on my credit, and they give me a real credit score. They also explain in detail what is hurting your credit score, and what is helping it.

    • Laura said

      I’ve used mycreditkeeper.com over the past several years three times (about a year or so each time). It’s a great deal for $9.99/mo if you really need to watch your score like a hawk (like I do).

  30. Great information. Thanks

  31. Duff said

    If you want your credit score for some reason, just buy your credit report and score… it costs like $10. If you can’t afford that, you probably can’t afford whatever loan you’re applying for either.

    Whether FreeCreditReport is a scam or not, they run lots of expensive ads that need to get paid for, so they are making money somehow! So “free” isn’t free.

    Just cough up the cash for your report & score.

  32. B said

    there is nothing wrong with FreeCreditReport.com, just don’t give them a chance to screw you. I have checked many credit reports without consequence. All you have to do is sign up, get your credit report, then call them immediately and cancel your newly created account. they will haggle you for a subscription pretty hard, but just deny it. simple as that. its not a ‘scam’ by any means.

  33. Great tips, thanks Bob. Thank for pointing out the freecreditreport.com scam to people and recommending annualcreditreport.com instead. Kudos to you, sir.

  34. Ryan said

    @The Critic

    Most lenders will disregard collections due to medical bills. Don’t expect a prime rate but you shouldnt have any problem whatsoever at that LTV (loan to value). An LTV of 50% is a very low risk to a lender because even if you default on the loan they should easily be able to recoup their loan and fees.

  35. J said

    I agree with Duff and B. But I think that annualcreditreport.com is almost useless for most people. If you are in the top 15-20% in terms of credit worthiness, I can see that the site would be useful to check if there are any errors on your report. But for the great majority in the middle, we need to know our scores in addition to what’s on the report and we need to check it more often than every 12 months to see if it’s going up or down.

  36. Justin V said

    Great Tips.. Everyone’s amazed at how I have a 740, at the age 23, only after starting credit about 2 years prior. (my secerts muhahahah) even after being a victim of ID theft!!!

    Another tip I would suggest is paying a bit more than the minium if you can on on a credit card. I think it’s transunion, that’s shows your what the minimum payment was suppose to be and how much you paid. That info also depends on the creditor.

    Also try not to go over the limit of your card, ever. Transuion atleast, oftens shows the Credit High and the Credit Limit. Becareful.

  37. [...] read more | digg story [...]

  38. MattyP said

    This is excellent advice. A few more tips:

    *The credit score you get at annualcreditreport.com is NOT the same score that lenders get when they pull your credit report. The score on annualcreditreport.com is a general “Consumer” score, while mortgage brokers et.al get a special “mortgage” credit score that is customized.

    *Lenders are required to disclose your credit score when you apply for a loan – for free. If they don’t give it to you ask for it.

    *You DO NOT need to keep a balance on your credit cards for it to reflect positively on your credit score. The proportion of balance to available credit matters – if you use all the credit you are granted, you are seen as a risk. Lenders like to see that you have available credit that you are not using (shows restraint).

    *It is not always wise to pay-off old bad debts. Yes, bad debts hurt you, but remember, paying off a bad debt doesn’t mean it disappears as a credit report – even after you pay it off it still will show up as an account you left unpaid for a significant amount of time. Additionally, the age of accounts effect your score – recent accounts matter more than old accounts. If you pay off an old bad debt it becomes “recent” again and can negatively impact your score.

    • Mike said

      Also you can receive different scores for different types of loans. You can receive one score for a car loan and a completely different score for a home loan. Another thing I have found is that two different lenders can pull your report from the same company EX; experian and each will get a different score for the same loan. Because the lenders also apply their own filters to the scores that they receive. So the reality is that you will get what ever score the lenders filters give you.

  39. max said

    Another thing you can do if you don’t have a credit history established is go down to your bank and ask them to give you a loan secured with a CD. Open a 6 month CD for $2500 or $5000 and put the loan money in a new account that you can’t access easily. The bank shouuld be able to automatically deduct the loan payments from the new account.

    On your credit record this looks like a loan that you took out and paid off on time. It will cost you a little bit, maybe $100 in the difference between the interest the CD accumulates and the interest the loan charges, but it’s a quick and easy way to boost your credit score if you have no established credit.

  40. [...] 1) Approximately 35% of your credit score is based on past debts that are over 30 days late. This means if for some reason you are going to be late on a payment, do not let it slip past 30 days late”…. <More> [...]

  41. Motherhood48 said

    I remember when a credit card company wanted me to use their credit monitoring service. I told them I could check my own credit for less money than they wanted to charge for the service. This credit card company told me that it would hurt my credit score if I ever checked my credit myself.

    I didn’t believe it. It sounded like a bunch of hooey to me. After all, if anyone checked my credit score (bank, lending company) that would have to also affect my credit score negatively if we went by what they were telling me.

    I just hate these companies.

  42. Nicole said

    According to Jean Chatzky, Carolyn Bigda, and Amanda Gengler:

    As of last year, everyone is entitled to a free report from each of the three major bureaus–Equifax, Experian and TransUnion–every year. The only source for truly free reports is AnnualCreditReport.com (877-322-8228). But watch out: A dizzying array of companies peddle “free” credit reports through websites such as FreeCreditReport.com (run by Experian) and FreeCreditProfile.com (TransUnion). But to get a free report from sites like these, you must subscribe to a credit monitoring service that you likely don’t need. If you don’t cancel within 30 days, you’ll face fees as high as $13 a month.

    Also, WHAT GOES INTO YOUR CREDIT SCORE:

    35% Bills paid on time
    30% Ratio of debt to credit limit
    15% Length of Credit history
    10% Credit application
    10% Variety of Loans

    Money; Feb 2006, Vol. 35 Issue 2, p118-124, 6p, 1 chart, 3 graphs

  43. u9n9 said

    hmm..thats something…

  44. Wow really good tips. I lie the one about using a credit card, the only problem is that when you have no credit no one wants to give you a credit card and I fall under that category. I will be looking for more of your tips!!

  45. Koolio said

    Regarding #6, could you state why people should stay away from freecreditreport.com? I’ve always gone directly to the 3 credit bureaus for my reports but thought it would be helpful if you stated why you do not recommend freecreditreport.com

    Thanks!

  46. jbwebs said

    @Koolio

    freecreditreport.com actually signs you up for some credit monitoring service and charge you for it for their “free” credit service. Search google for them and FTC, tons of complaints! The site I list and other people have said, annualcreditreport.com, is the only one you should use.

  47. Wil said

    Actually, knowing your FICO is more of a vanity than anything else. If you get your credit report once annually, as allowed, you will have a good indicator of your credit worthiness. Consumers have become so stuck on this number that they are willing to do anything to get it. Another way to get a free credit report for those with less than perfect credit is to request one in the event you are declined for a loan based on information contained in your credit report. By law, companies are required to give you notice if this is the case, and you can get a copy of your credit report by following instructions on the notice.

    I know this was said earlier, but it bears repeating:

    FreeCreditReport.com isn’t so much of a scam, as it is a really, really, really bad idea.

    Great post, by the way!

  48. I never checked my credit report once in my life and i never will.

    credit reports are for idiots.

  49. Great information. I wish I had known several things you mentioned. Thought it was smart to pay off and close cards! I just finished dealing with Experian and the other two agencies. They had WRONG information that was really hurting our scores.
    It took me nearly two years to get all the agencies to remove it!

    Thanks though, as the article was informative and right on the money, as far as I’ve
    learned. What gets me is having to pay to get your own credit rating!

  50. Steve Burns said

    You offer some great tips and so do some who have left comments, too.
    Credit is not a bad thing. But the improper use of credit is what has gotten so many people into trouble in recent years. My fear is that it will get much worse than it has. I have found a great resource to help with getting Business Lines of Credit that NEVER show up on your personal report. As a matter of fact, They CAN be used very effectively to improve your personal scores. You will see that this plan is geared towards investing in Real Estate. However, it will work just as effectively for ANY business entity that you create. Tom does know what he is talking about. He has perfected this system over more than two decades as a successful businessman. It isn’t theory, it’s well proven.
    You can check it out at: http://www.YourBestCashFlowPlan.biz

  51. Thank you so much =) Great post.

  52. [...] [Source] [...]

  53. Jove said

    That’s nice, but what about people who were deceived
    by hospitals into thinking they were going to qualify
    for “charity care” i.e. free care, only to receive massive
    bills in the mail that they have no hope of paying, and
    no duty since they were deceived? In other words,
    what can you suggest to people who have fraudulent
    debts hanging over their heads?

    You didn’t mentiont he statute of limitation on debts,
    for instance.

  54. Years ago I tried obtaining my “free” credit report via, well, freecreditreport.com. I never got my credit report, but I was in college and was new to computers and pretty much everything else.

    Now I’m a graduate student and don’t have much time to go to a bank and request a credit report, so I tried your suggestions, and I was able to get a free credit report via Equifax. Sweet! With this information, I can actually verify that one of my former debts has indeed been settled – great time saver!! It is way easier to go to a financial counselor (or accountant) with my report on hand. They are still going to solicit one anyway, but I get a head start. So I can definitely vouch for the annualcreditreport.com website. It took me about 10 minutes to do everything.

    About paying off your credit cards in full, esp. if you are a studnet, here is something a rep in MBNA once told me (note: MBNA has merged with Bank of America). If you don’t pay off your balances every month, then yes obviously your score will be affected, but they are more aggressive with those that are delinquent, i.e., not paying anything in 6 months. You can pay the minimum each month and they are OK with that, and unless you have other outstanding debts, lenders don’t care much about your credit cards. What the credit card guys really cared about is that the account is active – I got a call because I had not used the credit card in 7 months, but was paying my balances.

    Remember that the best financial philosophy is to get out of debt as soon as you can, and if you have to get in a debt for some reason – loan, house, car, business – then be sure it is something you can get out of.

    Thanks for the suggestions!

  55. [...] Top 7 Credit Score Secrets [...]

  56. Wil said

    Jove.

    If you have bogus charges reporting, you’re going to have to do a little legwork. You’re going to need to get all the information you can get a hold of and file a police report for Identity theft or fraud, whichever is closer to accurate. All three of the bureaus will have some mechanism in place for you to dispute the report. If they are not answered within 30 days, the reports get removed, and your report is clean. It’s a pain in the backside, but so is being scammed.

  57. Bill said

    I think you’re all missing something. I get a free credit report anytime I wish, just by stopping by my local bank branch and asking them to check it for me.
    I’ve been doing it for years.

    Great article!

  58. DS said

    Great Tips. Good luck with your new Blog.

    For some info on mortgages and credit issues, check out my blog

    http://mortgageintelligence.wordpress.com

  59. Anon said

    Fake Currency Racket
    =====================

    Do you think slavery is abolished at the time of Abraham Lincoln? You are wrong, if slavery means stealing work/wealth of people without paying them full compensation……. That is exactly what the currency racket (Fed, Banks, people who control them) are doing…… they are stealing your work/wealth by printing fake currency!

    In a *real* free market economy where violence is not used to usurp wealth, the wealth distribution will be well spread out 10% rich people, 80% middle class people, 10% poor people. The majority middle class people will control 80% of the wealth. If the economic system deviates from this reality, then someone is scamming the system.

    Today about 7% of the people on earth control 80% of it’s resources/wealth, this is making life miserable for 93% of people in the world and it is happening without violence. This means, someone is manipulating the trade in their own favor to usurp wealth isn’t it? We are all selling and buying goods and services with currency then what’s the problem? The problem is the “fiat currency” system, the currency notes that are issued without redemption obligation. Essentially what this means is the currency issuer will buy your goods/services and give you a currency note but then if you give the currency back and want to buy goods/services from currency issuer, they are not obliged to give you anything back. In fact the Federal Reserve Bank does not have anything that has “value” (value means anything that will sustain life) in reserve, all they have is some Gold bars, you cannot eat it, nor can you use it to grow food the primary requirement to sustain life, so gold bars are just a token, which again needs redemption to realize “value”, one token (paper currency) cannot be backed by another token(gold) isn’t it? the whole system is a “BIG SCAM”. Oops! this means people who control “fiat currency” racket can easily become rich isn’t it? The reality is “YES” and it is happening, that is how 7% of the people control/own 80% of the resources/wealth.

    It is time for religious organizations around the world to wake up and fight the “fiat currency” problem by starting their own Banks that will issue *real* currency notes with redemption obligation! This is the only way to do it peacefully…..

  60. [...] Nothing really new … February 6, 2007 Posted by mcclaud in Blognotes. trackback Here’s some information that you probably already knew about your credit. [...]

  61. [...] Top 7 Credit Score Secrets « Credit Score Tips & Advice (tags: credit finance advice money howto lifehacks) [...]

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  63. finaumortgageconnection said

    Great information for all consumers!

  64. [...] Top 7 Credit Score Secrets [...]

  65. lucho2mars said

    I used freecreditreport in the past, and a few other free. Didn’t had any issues canceling.

  66. koolio said

    Thanks for the explanation, jbwebs!

  67. Kuppa said

    I have 4 credit cards and I was not using two of them for the past 5 years. One of my friend told me to cancel the credit card which I am not using since it will decrease my mortgage loan amount. As per your tips, it is better to keep the credit card even if I am not using it. I would like to know that Is there any impact on the mortgage amount because of the credit cards.

    Thanks,
    -Kuppa

  68. Steve Burns said

    Kuppa, Having been invovled in the Mortgage business, I can say that the Lenders WANT to see “un-used” credit in your report. Want they do NOT like is to see most or all of your credit lines nearly “maxed-out” or worse yet a lot of late payments on record. Those factors spell Trouble to them. It is a HUGE mistake to cancel an “un-used” account that you have a high credit limit with. That one act will dramaticly hurt your score because you have just eliminated a big “plus” in thier viewpoint! They want to loan the most money to those of us who do NOT appear to need it…Go Figure.

  69. Great tips! Be careful with #5 though. Some teenagers are not yet responsible enough to handle credit cards and will actually incur bad points towards their credit rating. But I guess, it’s the parents job to know when their children are ready for such a responsibility.

  70. Jo Delsen said

    I got free credit alert thru my paypal account. If you have a paypal account, go check it out. I think this free credit alert can help monitor your credit rating.

  71. pushy said

    Q.
    do you also pay for free credit report provided by credit card companies websites. e.g washington mutual provides free credit report online .. does this mean its not free.?

  72. ispf said

    [...] The first article for today’s edition is actually from last week, but I came across it only this week, and I think it’s such a good article that it deserves a spot on the “Best of” list :) Seriously though, this article is from creditpro a brand spankin’ new blog [...]

  73. [...] 1) Approximately 35% of your credit score is based on past debts that are over 30 days late. This means if for some reason you are going to be late on a payment, do not let it slip past 30 days late”…. <More> [...]

  74. [...] 1. Top seven credit score secrets [...]

  75. christina said

    Anything can be a scam if people don’t read what they are getting into. I don’t belive Freecreditreport.com is a scam because it clearly states that you are enrolling in a membership and if you don’t cancel you will be billed. People don’t read and instead of being mad at themselves they complain. Read the terms and conditions people don’t just click I accept and sign your checking account away. If you are putting your credit card number in for something that is supposed to be FREE you are the dummy. Read further and you will see why they are asking for you credit card number. Duh! You are able to sign up and get your report without paying a fee -JUST DONT FORGET TO CANCEL. I don’t work for them but I work for a similar company that offers the credit monitoring memberships. You get unlimited access to your credit report and score for a membership fee. People always see FREE and run with it. Yea its free for 30 days dummy. If you read and practice a little common sense, that will cut out a lot of the so- called scams.

    Yes you can get your credit report for free once a year but even experts say that its good to check your credit more than once a year. What if you check your credit this month and then something negative goes on your report after you check it that you won’t know about until you check it again next February. Credit reports are updated often you know.

    All 3 credit bureaus have different scores so if you have a membership that gives you a score it might be a Trans Union or Experian score and most companies use Equifax (the more popular bureau) to check you report and score. The 3 scores can be the same but most of the time vary by a small amount. Its good to know what all 3 scores are because companies in which you apply for credit use different bureaus to get your score.

  76. Paco said

    I think your point #4 is inaccurate – a hard pull on your credit isn’t a “ding that lasts a year.” My understanding is that it affects your score for 6 months and stays on your report for 2 years.

  77. [...] Also, the following credit score tips from a financial adviser might come in handy: Top 7 Credit Score Secrets [...]

  78. neil said

    i just relized what happened to me. i got F@#$ed right in the middle of buying a house. freecreditreport.com is a bunch of crap. i paid 39.99 for a subscription and they only let me look at on month of my credit. my score started at 693 and dropped all the way to 632 with out me realizing it was because i was loooking at it on there site.

  79. Vikram Das said

    If you don’t have any credit cards and pay by cheques, does that build your credit history ?

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    Wow! These tips are really useful, I wish I knew about them earlier. You made a great point about not letting your late payments slip past thirty days, I really didn’t know there was a difference between 5 five days late and thirty days late. I thought late was late, but then again you have to think about a grace period that they give you. I think it is very important to try to pay more than the minimum payment if it is not too much af a burden on you. Thanks for the information it is extremely vital.

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  84. Michelle said

    I have 3 collections for medical bills appearing on my credit report (stemming from 2 yrs ago) which total approx. $600.00. Since they will still remain on my credit history for another 5 yrs is there any benefit to paying them off? If I do will it improve my credit score?

  85. Michael said

    Tips are great but it all comes down to discipline. And most either don’t have it, or don’t want it.

    I have talked with so many folks who know everything about money, but they have to pay for their groceries with a credit card. Just one of the reasons I got out of the industry.

  86. I got into a right mess with credit cards, and i am old enough to know better.
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  87. Wallace said

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  92. Check out this article which is similar to this “secrets” one, but it also has a couple of good ideas such as a way to increase your credit limits.
    http://www.mycreditsecurity.com/credit-report/top-ten-ways-improve-credit-score/

  93. [...] Continue reading… Trackback URL Leave your own comments about this post: [...]

  94. JJ said

    Hello All,

    Quick and maybe stupid questions.

    What happened if I need to stop working for, let’s say 6mo/1 year?

    Of course I will continue paying my credit lines on time and I will use my credit card just in emergencies,

    my credit score will be low as time goes on?

    If I have a good credit the companies will stop giving me offers and pre-approvals?

    I will not be candidate of a loan?

    Thanks for your answers.

    Kind Regards, JJ

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    When a delinquent account is paid in full, how many points would be added by credit bureau?

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  100. GURU said

    Never use FREECREDITREPORT.com. Use MyFICO.com. FCR uses Vantage or NON-Fico scores. Real Lenders use FICO. Just check your scores every 6-8 months and you’ll be fine. Even TrueCredit.com is better but they offer FAKO scores. But you can signup and check your scores daily if you want.

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    Bad credit causes a lot of extra hardship that people don’t often see until it happpens and they realize how bad it can become.

  108. [...] because they didn’t know the game. If your credit is important to you this is a Must Read.read more | digg [...]

  109. Another tip, which only works if you’ve already defaulted on an obligation, is to ask the collection agency for the original paperwork. If they can’t find it, mainly because your obligation has probably already passed through several hands, then they can’t report it.

    If you’re interested in more details I wrote about it at: http://www.followsteph.com/2008/02/18/a-lesser-known-secret-tip-to-increase-your-credit-score/

  110. Get a killer credit score at http://www.credit-report-repair.us!!

  111. Great article. People in the know really need to push the importance of establishing, building, and maintaining great credit. The facts are that responsibly using credit, and monitoring your credit history remains the best way to create a high credit score.

    I wish you would have covered these credit repair and debt negotiation companies as part of this article. I’ll be doing extensive research on these because I have begun writting a series of articles on my blog called “Mastering Fico.”

    How To Read A Credit Report is part 1, where we explain everything you need to know in order to manage your credit. I hope the information in this guide proves valuable for your readers.

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  112. Sean West said

    Get your own mortgage credit report before the lender does.

    There is a new service I recently signed up for. Instead of the free credit report that you see advertised on tv, which you can only get if you sign up for their monthly service, you actually pay a smaill one-time fee and get your own credit report. You get the exact same report the mortgage lender gets when they order your report. It’s called an RMCR, residential mortgage credit report, or sometimes called a tri-merge because it pulls from all three credit agencies. I installed a link to it on my website in case you want to access it.

  113. Sean West said

    Get your own mortgage credit report before the lender does.

    There is a new service I recently signed up for. Instead of the free credit report that you see advertised on tv, which you can only get if you sign up for their monthly service, you actually pay a small one-time fee and get your own credit report. You actually get the exact same report the mortgage lender gets when they order your report. It’s called an RMCR, residential mortgage credit report, or sometimes called a tri-merge because it pulls from all three credit agencies. I installed a link to it on my website in case you want to access it.

  114. I don’t think people will change, we will just keep spending the way that we do until the bubble bursts and everyone panics. (Media Hype) You have lots of interesting information here. I will be back to read more. Well Done

  115. Geoff said

    Some were talking about frequent credit checks hurting the FICO score. This depends because there are two types–credit checks (one used it applying for a loan), and credit inquiries (one used for pre-employment screen, or by you checking your credit report / score). The credit check can take a bite out of your score, but not a huge amount. Any checks made within a 14-day period are considered “one inquiry” and will reduce your score (but not truly substantially). So, if you’re peddling around for a loan you should make all your inquiries about rates quickly. Also–You can ask for a rate quote for a certain credit score. I’ve used this to avoid credit checks until I’m ready to “buy the loan”.

    Credit inquiries have no net effect on your score at all. A company you have a loan with will make these inquiries with some frequency to make sure you’re not a default risk, etc. Also, employers, car insurers, etc. may make inquiries to check on your overall “responsibility”.

    I hope that this helps.

  116. This may be an old article now – but it sure has timeless information! I hope a lot of people got a lot of good out of it. I learned a couple of things myself!

  117. [...] 7 Credit Score Tips – Written by a former credit counselor. [...]

  118. VJ said

    Today, I was denied a car loan because I supposedly do not have a credit score and there is absolutely no credit history on my credit report. Never heard of such a thing except for a person just starting out, which I am far from, but anyway . . . after much struggle, I’ve been debt-free since 2001. I then talked to car dealership and told them what I had been told. They had never heard of such a thing either and said that they could do some sort of auto credit history check on me which would show things like auto loans that had been paid off more than 7 years old, even if my car loan was 20 years ago. I’m wondering if there is indeed such a way to do a credit check beyond the 7-10 years reported by the 3 major credit bureaus or am I going to have to dust off an old credit card and start using it again to re-establish my credit?

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  120. Jim said

    Here’s a related article about credit score that complements this post:
    http://team803.com/blog/2008/08/credit-score-myths-vs-facts/

  121. Great blog! Here’s some more credit myths out there –

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  122. jimb said

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  126. Marie said

    Question:

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  127. undocredit said

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  134. Scott said

    One thing that kills me is that people get rid of their credit cards once they pay them back. This does not help your credit at all. In fact, it hurts your credit score. When you pay of one card keep it but just don’t use it.

  135. I always though hard credit inquiries lasted not 1 year but 2 Years, is it really only one year ??

  136. I always though hard credit inquiries lasted not 1 year but 2 Years,

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  145. Bill said

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